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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Dedicated voters gave up on Election Day because of long lines. That’s unacceptable

Super Tuesday vote line
Voters had to wait more than two hours to cast their ballot at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles on Super Tuesday.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I attempted to vote six times on Tuesday in Santa Monica but was unable to do so because of long lines. Wait times ranged from an hour and a half to four hours. I have voted in Santa Monica in the last four elections and have never had to wait longer than 20 minutes to cast my ballot. (“L.A. County’s new voting system wasn’t just glitchy on election day — it was totally unacceptable,” editorial, March 5)

The new “vote anywhere” system in Los Angeles County was an absolute failure and resulted in a dramatic decrease in polling locations on the busiest voting day of them all. This, combined with opening up these centers as a free for all, effectively disenfranchised me and the many other voters I saw leave the lines. I missed my first election in my 25 years of voting eligibility.

What happened across L.A. needs to be investigated, and we need to return to voting by precinct on Election Day this November. Voting should not be this difficult, especially in a state like California that considers itself a progressive beacon for the rest of the country.

Abdul Smith, Santa Monica

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To the editor: On Election Day, I brought in paperwork complete with a QR code. After a three-hour wait, I was shocked that the poll worker manually entered my information all over again on the single registration touch-screen computer at the vote center. There was no ability to scan the code.

It is incomprehensible that no delays were expected when the number of polling places was decreased by 80%. This should serve as a warning to those who think medical care can be completely revamped and provided efficiently by the government.

Thomas Einstein, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Election Day voters have some legitimate complaints, but with 978 voting centers open since Feb. 29 and a smaller number open since Feb. 22, those standing in long lines should have availed themselves of early voting.

I stood in line in South Pasadena for 40 minutes on Election Day and promptly went home and filled out an application for permanent absentee balloting.

I think Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Dean C. Logan and his staff should be lauded for a good first-time effort. I give high marks to the new voting machines.

Francis Cholko, South Pasadena

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To the editor: I’m surprised that neither your March 4 article on the problems with L.A. County’s new voting system nor the letters to the editor commenting on it mention an easy solution: Use a mail-in ballot, fill it out at home with an ordinary pen, put it in the envelope provided, and walk it in to any voting center, bypassing all the lines and machines.

I did this at Westwood Charter Elementary School — where waits were reported to be up to four hours — and it took less than four minutes.

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Barbara Ravitz, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The problem of lines at voting centers did not suddenly materialize on Election Day.

My daughter went three different times to vote at UCLA the day before the election, and every time there was a huge line in which she did not have an hour to wait. She checked back on Election Day twice, but by then wait times were three hours.

So, she began the mad race around Los Angeles to find another vote center. She went to two others, which also had enormous lines, before finally rolling into the Proud Bird restaurant near LAX at 7:20 pm. She waited there for two hours to vote.

The thing that peeved her most, however, was that they ran out of stickers. How is that possible?

So, in addition to not having enough staff, voting machines and vote centers, even the “I voted” sticker allocation was wrong.

Lisa Marlin, Los Angeles

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To the editor: It’s bizarre what we can and can’t accomplish.

We can build an atomic bomb under wartime conditions, put a man on the moon using 1969 computer technology, and develop GPS so precise that golfers know how many yards they have to the hole.

But we cannot develop a voting system that’s reliable, avoids long lines and can’t be broken into in spite of numerous trial runs and elections.

Joel Athey, Valley Village

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To the editor: In November 2018, the Studio City church that was my designated polling place had, for the first time in my 43 years of voting in my neighborhood, a long line.

So, I was astonished this year to see the main Studio City vote center had only three people checking in voters and only four or five machines. How about a lot more personnel and voting machines in each center?

Ellen Butterfield, Studio City

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To the editor: Voting in person on Election Day in Los Angeles? Seriously?

Watch a Dodger game on television. There are empty stadium seats until the fourth inning, and you can see tail lights from cars leaving the parking lot in the seventh inning.

If you live in the dystopia that is Los Angeles, you must learn how to game the system.

John Kelley, Costa Mesa

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To the editor: Recruit young people to work at vote centers. They’re naturals with electronic gear. Either pay them or offer extra credit for any course or acknowledgment of community service.

They’ll keep the lines moving.

Ruth Mehringer, Los Angeles


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